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macfreek Dec 27, 2019 @ 6:02am
Mountains of Data review
review level 3

I played level 3 for most parts, so here is my review. I liked the start, but some frustrations build up, hence my feedback here.

Please note that this review contains information about new buildings, so there may be spoilers.

First of all a small visual bug:

https://imgur.com/DdSERoT

Hexters has 4 speeds, pause, normal, double and triple speed. However, when double speed is selected, it shows three arrows (">>>") instead of two (">>").

I also have two UI misconceptions, like a habit of left-clicking instead of right-clicking to move e.g. the scout drone, but those are probably on me.

Another minor UI misconception that I wanted to mention: I wanted to select the engineer and send to firewall. It took me a few attempts to realise I had to select the firewall, not select the engineer. For me it is a bit inconsistent: Sometimes I have to select the target (as in this case), sometimes I have to select the operator (such as with the squad or bitmobile).

I ran into the following logistics issues.

I wanted to build a Beacon, Depot and Storage in a section that had ran out of Bits. For some reasons, the Hexters didn't build it, seemingly because the available Bits where too far away. Thankfully, I resolved this by setting the priority of these buildings to high.
That worked for the buildings, but not for building a Cargo Drone (as that is an upgrade instead of a building on its own, and you can't set priority for upgrades). In the end, I solved this by creating a building with hihg priority next to it, and then demolishing it, so I had resources nearby. This felt as a workaround at best.

Logistics started nice, got annoying and ended utterly frustrating. I guess I don't understand how things work. Two examples.

I hade to neighbouring sectors without production, only Beacon and Storage. Sector One had 6 Bits, and target set to 0 Bits. Sector Two had 12 Bits, and I was unable to get those 6 to Sector Two. Sector Two was connected to another Sector that needed Bits. However the Cargo Drone always went back and forth with 0 load. Even when I disconnected the two sectors from all other sectors, and set the target of Sector Two to 18 Bits, the Cargo Drone still didn't transport anything.

Second example: I had three sectors, one with mine and refinary. Second with the hub, which should receive all cargo from the mine sector, and finally a small sector with factory that required Bits and Bytes. The hub was filled to the brim with Bits (100 in storage). Somehow, the result was that the Cargo Drones between Hub Sector and Factory Sector were empty. So I figured that the high target (100 Bits) in the Hub prevented Bits to be carried to the Factory. So I lowered that to 50 Bits. The result was that some Bits and Bytes were transported to the Factory, but still most Cargo Drones were empty. The Cargo Drones between Mine Sector and Hub Sector still carried Bits only (for some reason no Bytes), but never dropped them off at the Hub Sector, and returned with full cargo to the Mine Sector, dropped all off, and loaded again with Bits. Repeat ad infinum.

To make matters worse, the 3 dedicated haulers at the Mine sector were idle (question marks above their heads), even though the input and output of the Refinary was completely full. I didn't understand why they didn't carry the created Bytes from the Refinary to the local Storage. Also, there were resources lying on the ground (from Stockpiles that I destroyed because the Cargo Drones don't reach them). I don't understand why they are not getting carried to the Storage while the haulers are idle.

https://imgur.com/MjNh8z9

Perhaps I don't understand what the Logistics and Production target of the Beacons mean. If the logistics target is exactly met, does this mean that incoming resources are no longer being accepted, or does it mean that outgoing resources are no longer send out? Or both (e.g. deadlock)?

Experimenting a bit, I tried raising production target to be higher than the current inventory, and logistics target lower than the current inventory, hoping that the production target applies to all incoming cargo, and the logistics target to all outgoing cargo. The result was that all cargo drone carried nothing whatsoever. I tried reversing it (logistics target > current inventory > production target), but also in that case, the cargo drones remained empty.

In the end, everything was build due to Hexters manually carrying 80 Bytes from the Hub all the way to the Factory on other side of the level.

In replay (the came crashed after I compiled a hexter), for some reason, the cargo drones did carry bytes (but not bits), and I could carry the bits by the BitMobile.

I made sure to keep the game running a triple speed after I ran into each issue, to ensure it was not a startup or trancient issue. This resulted in a playtime of 13 hours (about 1/3 unsupervised). While I liked the level and the concepts introduced, I'm sorry to say that the frustrations I had took away the fun, and I was glad when I finally get it over with.
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Dragst  [developer] Dec 27, 2019 @ 7:23am 
As always, thanks for reporting these and sorry about the frustrations. The logistics should not be that tedious to use. We recently even changed how this worked to make it more easier to understand, I guess we still got work to do!

I'll ask the other dev to open the logistical issue in more detail, hold on.
Last edited by Dragst; Dec 27, 2019 @ 7:24am
snlehton  [developer] Dec 27, 2019 @ 11:02am 
Hello macfreek,

I'm happy you managed to complete level 3 despite all these issues with logistics. Unfortunately we're not doing best possible job to describe how the logistics works in the game, as Dragst said we few months ago changed how the logic behind it.

There are two kinds of limits: production target and logistics target (it's also called storage target in the tooltip -- we need to fix that.).

Production target defines the target for production buildings so that they will keep producing until the target is met (either due to transportation, discovery or production). This ensures that your buildings keep working until the limit you've set it met. There is also a soft minimum for this to prevent your production network from getting stuck. That's the shaded arrow in the graph.

The reasoning for production limit is that you many times want to prevent resources such as Triangles from being produced in excess. And similarly, you want places with Quarry keep on producing Bits as much as possible.

Logistics target defines the need for resources in the zone. If you set it to, say, 50 Bits, other zones will send their excess bits towards the zone in need. Only resources above the logistics target can be sent.

The logistics network uses "path-finding" to resolve the flow of resources, so even if you would have excess (resources > logistics limit) in one end of the network and deficiency (resources < logistics limit), you don't need to configure the intermediate zones at all -- the logistics will take care of figuring out what to send where.

Now, as for your particular problems, it's hard for me to say precisely what went wrong, but I can try. In first issue, you don't describe what limits you set, production or logistics. In order to move all excess from Sector A to Sector B, you need to set following:

Sector A:
logistics = 0
production = probably high as possible to keep on producing forever

Sector B:
logistics = amount you need to have at the sector at all times
production = 0 or some other limit if you have production in that sector

Second issue: I think you figured out how to setup the network, but here's recap:

Sector A:
logistics = 0, production = high --> produce as much as possible and send everything away

Sector B (one with the hub):
logistics = 10 or so (just keep as much as you think will be needed at any point)
production = as much as you like, if you have production in the sector

Sector C (one with the factory):
logistics = 50 (or some other high number)
production = again, any number as it does not matter unless you have production

If the game does not behave like that for you, then there are some bugs. I'd be happy to get a savegame with behaving badly so that I can check it out. The instructions how to find the savegames are found in the pinned post on the forums.

Cheers,
Sampsa
Last edited by snlehton; Dec 27, 2019 @ 12:15pm
macfreek Dec 28, 2019 @ 4:33am 
Thanks, I'll see if I can try to to replicate some of the issues that I had with your description. That should tell me if the problem is a bug, or simply PEBKAC :)
Dragst  [developer] Dec 28, 2019 @ 11:51am 
Well, naturally we aim to reach the point PEBKAC would become irrelevant :-)
macfreek Dec 30, 2019 @ 2:46pm 
I just played (part of) level 3, Data Desert. While your explanation certainly helped, I'm still a bit stumped. Perhaps you can explain.

In this level, I have two sectors, one at the Hub with a Refinery (called "Nexus"), and a Hub near a research station (called "Pico USB"), which has an extractor and where I'm building stuff which requires Bytes. Of course I can build a Refinery near that place, but I was trying to solve it with logistics: Bits are produced at the Pico USB, send to the Storage there (that works), transported to the Nexus Hub, then hauled to the Refinery. And the produced Bytes should be hauled from Refinery to Storage, then via Cargo Drone to the other hub, and then hauled to the building-in-progress.

When starting, the drone was going back and forth empty. Once I raised the Logistics target at the destination, that part worked. However, Bytes were never transported back. Two things may be triggering this (and I'm not sure what is the cause and which the effect):

* Bytes stay at the Refinery. In fact, the Refinery is hardly producing because it complains that the inventory is full. There is a designated hauler at the hub, not sure why they're not brought to Storage. Production target is all the way up. See https://imgur.com/usLlzP9

* The soft targets for Bytes in the hub where the buildings are being build is 0 (both for logistics and production), despite that the manually set target is way up, and buildings are being produced. See https://imgur.com/JftU0RW

If you like, I uploaded a save file: https://surfdrive.surf.nl/files/index.php/s/2dTu2cTV9Bs8dHO (note that the Bits logistics target was not yet raised in the Nexus hub here, and you need to stop the Polysmith)

Right now, there seems only a little bit of progress because Hexters manually haul Bytes from the Refinery in one sector all the way to the building-in-progress in the other sector. Not exactly the efficiency I was aiming for :)

Let me know if you see the Byte-not-being-transported behaviour in this scenario as well!
Last edited by macfreek; Dec 30, 2019 @ 2:48pm
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